Royal Rumblings - Aikens, Smith, Mendoza, Cain

Jul 24, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Will Smith (53) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

I am going to take the lead from Craig on Monday and go over a variety of subjects after taking last week off.

Disappointed with Safe at Home

I have finally finished reading "Safe at Home: Willie Mays Aikens" by Gregory Jordan. I am not sure what to think about it. The book started out great, but the last 1/3 of it just didn't seem to work. It was all over the place. If there was a message I just didn't get it. People can get over struggles? Crack cocaine penalties were too hard? He still likes other women other than my wife? Fried chicken is good? It is tough to adjust to family life after being in jail? Baseball is cool? George Brett is even cooler? It seemed that there need to be a few more words to help bring together some ideas started earlier in the book to a good conclusion.

It is kinda disappointing that the end was such a mishmash of ideas, because the first 2/3rds was well written.

  • Aikens' history getting to baseball.
  • His time getting high in KC.
  • Moving on to play in Mexico and fathering several different children from several different women.
  • Getting set up for drug and gun charges
  • The time he spent in jail.

All these themes ran smoothly and then just died at the end. No final thoughts. No tying it together. Just a little disappointing, kinda like Aikens' baseball career.

Will Smith in the Majors

I am not sure what to make of Will Smith. He seems to be pitching OK, but just not good enough to really make any long term difference. His 5.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 are somewhat inline with his minor league values of 7.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. To see what kind of pitcher he is like I collected some comps to compare him to:

Name: K/9, BB/9, ERA
Will Smith: 5.5, 3.2, 5.34
Barry Zito: 5.2, 4.0, 4.27
Tim Hudson: 5.5, 2.4, 3.45
Jason Vargas: 5.7, 2.4, 3.69
Clay Buchholz: 5.9, 3.1, 4.48
Picky Nolasco: 5.9, 2.8, 4.95
Jeremy Hellickson: 5.9, 3.4, 3.43

Not a horrible group of pitchers. The key that has kept these pitchers in the league is their ability to not allow HRs. Here are their HR/9

Name: HR/9
Will Smith: 1.6
Barry Zito: 1.1
Tim Hudson: 0.5
Jason Vargas: 1.4
Clay Buchholz: 1.2
Picky Nolasco: 1.0
Jeremy Hellickson: 1.4

The key for Smith to make with his K and BB numbers is have is HR/9 south of 1.0. It was 0.9 in the minors, with in the increase in talent at the ML level, it will be tough for him to make it.

One good aspect of Smith is that is efficient with his pitches. Looking at all Royals pitchers with over 35 IP, he has the 3rd lowest P/IP value.

Name P/IP
Kelvin Herrera 15.0
Luis Mendoza 15.2
Will Smith 15.3
Aaron Crow 15.4
Jonathan Broxton 15.7
Luke Hochevar 16.1
Tim Collins 16.9
Felipe Paulino 16.9
Bruce Chen 17.0
Everett Teaford 17.1
Jose Mijares 17.5
Greg Holland 18.0
Jonathan Sanchez 20.8

Keep it Down Mendoza

Two nights ago, Mendoza gave up 2 home runs to right-handed hitters. Here is a plot of the pitches that were put into play.

Mendoza_medium

Pitches in the lower part of the plate turned into ground outs (or a Frenchy ball chasing triple). Up and inside, home runs. Keep the ball down.

Cain - First Pitch Hacking

It was mentioned by Super Rex, or whatever he is calling himself now a days, and some of our commentors that Cain swings at a ton at first pitches. Statisically he is not that bad compared to other Royals and the rest of the American League. Here are some 1st pitch swinging percentages:

Francoeur: 33%
Escobar: 25%
League Average: 25%
Hosmer: 24%
Perez: 24%
Moose: 20%
Cain: 19%
Dyson: 19%
Butler: 18%
Gordon: 18%
Getz: 13%

All of the hitters have learned from the Greatest Hitting Coach Ever not to go first pitching hacking. Well, all except Frenchy.

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